Steel sector reports Q3 losses

By Hung Le   November 3, 2019 | 06:28 pm PT
Steel sector reports Q3 losses
A man climbs on steel packages at Hoa Phat steel mill in Hai Duong Province, Vietnam. Photo by Reuters/Kham.
Most steel enterprises in the country have reported third-quarter losses or a plunge in profits; many blame the U.S.-China trade spat.

The biggest Q3 loss was suffered by Pomina Steel (POM), a leading producer with the fifth highest market cap on the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE).

The company reported a VND119 billion ($5.14 million) post-tax loss in the third quarter, with revenues falling 14.5 percent year-on-year to VND3 trillion ($129.5 million). It was its third consecutive quarterly loss and the biggest quarterly loss this year, bringing cumulative losses for the year up to VND252 billion ($10.88 million).

The Tien Len Steel Group (TLH), a producer slightly smaller by assets, also reported a VND9 billion ($388,500) post-tax loss after two quarters of falling profits.

Vietnam Italy Steel (VIS), which has the second biggest market cap on HoSE, reported its sixth consecutive losing quarter. Its post-tax loss for Q3 was VND75.3 billion ($3.25 million), roughly double the loss of the previous quarter.

Hoa Phat Group (HPG), Vietnam’s biggest steel-maker, was one of the few companies that reported profits in the third quarter, albeit lower than the last.

Despite a 6.6 percent increase in revenue to VND15.1 trillion ($652 million), post-tax profits fell 27 percent year-on-year to VND1.8 trillion ($77.71 million), and down 10 percent from the previous quarter. The company cited falling global prices for steel for the decline.

Based on their financial reports, most steel-makers said a volatile global market affected by negative U.S.-China trade war sentiments drove down construction investment, and in turn demand for and prices of steel.

A surplus of steel in the domestic market also hampered production, and this, combined with generally rising costs of raw materials and electricity, squeezed companies’ profit margins. VIS, for instance, said it had to cut production in half this year.

According to the Vietnam Steel Association, the steel industry also faces threats from Chinese steel imports being rerouted to Vietnam to avoid anti-dumping duties levied by other countries.

Vietnam recently issued five-year anti-dumping duties with the highest margin of 37.29 percent on steel from mainland China, Taiwan, Malaysia and Indonesia, having found in an investigation that foreign steel was hurting local production.

Last week, Vietnam Customs revealed to local press that it had found and seized 1.8 million tons of Chinese-made aluminum, falsely labeled as Vietnamese, headed to the U.S. The consignment was worth around $4.3 billion.

In July, the U.S. slapped anti-dumping duties of up to 456 percent on some steel products imported from Vietnam, which it alleged were produced overseas.

In the first 9 months Vietnam exported 4.86 million tons of iron and steel, earning $3.16 billion, up 5.4 percent year-on-year in volume but down 6.9 percent in value. Cambodia was Vietnam’s biggest market, accounting for 26.8 percent of total volume, according to the General Department of Customs.

During the same period, Vietnam imported 10.81 million tons of steel, worth $7.21 billion, up 4.6 percent year-on-year in volume and down 4 percent in value. China was Vietnam’s biggest source, accounting for 39.8 percent of total imports by volume.

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